WhatsApp is increasingly being used in professional teams. From student cohorts to specialist nursing forums, nurses are using this mode of communication to speak to one another and share insights.
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The app can be a refreshingly quick means of communicating but there are some factors to watch out for and consider. Here are my top tips.
When you set up a group, some members may be confident using WhatsApp while others might not. Check who is having trouble or who might have the app but do not want to interact.
Try to be inclusive. It is so easy to leave people out or only interact with those who are active in the app.
If you are new to the app, try making your own group chat so you can practice using it. Start with family or friends. Open the WhatsApp app and click the chat icon at the bottom of the screen.
Next, click the paper and pen icon at the top right-hand corner. Click “new group” and add members from your contacts list.
Remember that if group members do not have one another’s phone numbers in their contacts, they will come up as phone numbers instead of contact names. You may have to share contact numbers with the group first so that the names come up for the whole group.
As with every system, there is a code and in WhatsApp, which includes ticks, you need to be able to understand.
“Sometimes you might want to mute conversations and read them later”
- One grey tick means your message is sending;
- Two grey ticks mean your message has been delivered;
- Two blue ticks mean the person or people you have sent the message to has read it.
Sometimes you might want to mute conversations and read them later. All you need to do is click the conversation or group chat you would like to mute, then click the header of the chat, which should be the group or person’s name. Next, click “Mute.”
You can send and receive pictures on WhatsApp. To keep sent pictures from being automatically saved to your camera roll on your phone, open the WhatsApp app, click the settings icon at the bottom right of screen and click on “data and storage usage.”
Here, you can change the settings for when your pictures download or if you want them to download at all. Alternately, you can click on the settings icon on the WhatsApp app and disable the camera.
This may be trial and error. At worst you might have to just delete pictures and videos from your albums periodically if you are unable to permanently stop the automatic saving.
Documents can be sent through WhatsApp. The document must be saved on your phone before sending. In the chat you want to send the document to, click the “+” sign at the bottom left and select the document.
“Please be careful of confidentiality”
Once you have selected the term “browse,” your phone will bring up documents saved to your phone. Any of these documents can then be attached.
Please be careful of confidentiality, as WhatsApp is an open network and therefore is not a 100% secure. While it is end-to-end encrypted, people who receive a message from you can download it to their phone and do what they want to with the attachment.
The document-sharing function is a great way for nurses to share information in their specialty. Playing with these functions is great, but it goes without saying that patient information has no place in this site.
This series of blogs has been co-produced with help from trust staff looking at and introducing systems: Arran Rogers, Royal Berkshire NHS FT; Jane Benfield Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust; Sam Neville, Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust; and Dr Natasha Phillips, University College London.
Getting real with WhatsApp